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What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, develops when excess pressure within the eye begins to damage the optic nerve, your eye’s visual lifeline to the brain.
Detecting this threat as soon as possible is a prime reason it is so important to have a qualified ophthalmologist or optometrist examine your eyes regularly. Glaucoma can strike at any age, although the risk increases as you grow older. Elevated eye pressure can occur without symptoms, and is as dangerous to your eyes as hypertension is to your organs.
The trusted professionals at Mittleman Eye are skilled in discovering the warning signs of glaucoma early, before you notice symptoms and your field of vision begins to narrow.
Glaucoma and Your Optic Nerve
The term glaucoma encompasses several related conditions that damage the optic nerve, each announcing its presence only at a very late stage. The optic nerve is vital to your sense of sight, transmitting visual data from the eye to the brain. Without a properly functioning optic nerve, blindness results.
Symptoms and Detection
The buildup of pressure within the eyes is glaucoma’s first silent warning sign. During a comprehensive exam, your doctor will check for ocular hypertension by measuring the pressure of the aqueous humor, the fluid within your eyes. Precise measurements can be obtained with applanation tonometry, which measures intraocular pressure with a small sensor that gently touches the surface of your eye.
The importance of identifying glaucoma early cannot be overstated. Although vision loss resulting from the disease will never be restored, glaucoma’s progression can be slowed by daily use of eye drops to reduce eye pressure, or with surgery for advanced cases.
Are There Any Glaucoma Risk Variables?
Some individuals are at higher risk for developing glaucoma, including African Americans, patients over 60, diabetics or anyone with a family history of the disease.
How to Prevent and Manage Glaucoma
For all groups, it is a good idea to eat healthfully, maintain recommended weight, exercise and avoid smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol. Just as your diet affects your overall health, your eyes are sensitive to which foods you are consuming, and which nutrients you may be missing. Many studies have demonstrated that a diet rich in key vitamins and minerals protects your eyes against serious diseases. Glaucoma may be one of these.
Omega-3 fats found in salmon and other fish, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables high in beta carotene, and anything that is a good source of lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc should be on your menu. And don’t forget to burn all those powerful nutrients with physical activity: Research suggests there is a strong link between vigorous exercise and improved eye health.
If you would like to learn more about detection and treatment of glaucoma, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist at our West Palm Beach or Jupiter office by contacting Mittleman Eye today.